The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – Inclusion Initiative
The Duke of Edinburgh's Award (the Award), is the world's leading self-development framework (operating in 144 countries worldwide), which has been proven to equip young people with the resources and networks needed to achieve and maintain well-being, while striving to become the best version of themselves.
Award participants fulfill hourly requirements in four essential component areas: Community Service, Skill Building, Physical Recreation and Outdoor Exploration. As they do so, these young people become increasingly connected to the broader community, which helps to establish for them a greater sense of 'belonging' and life purpose. The Award framework exposes youth to new and varied experiences and opportunities that enhance their ability to appreciate the benefits of creating and enjoy healthy lifestyles. They become connected to meaningful education and future employment prospects as a result of the skills they have pursued while completing their Award levels.
For over 10 years we have been facilitating the Award in Yellowknife, however, we lack the capacity and funding support needed to expand our reach and sponsor young people coming from low-income families. As a result, most of our participants in the North have come from more privileged backgrounds with greater access to the support systems that help them achieve the activity requirements needed in order to achieve an Award.
Around the world, the Award framework has been used to connect to, complement and support already existing programs by fostering a wrap-around approach to community development, which, in turn, builds capacity for the non-profit sector at-large. It has successfully addressed issues such as: poverty and crime prevention, settlement and integration of newcomers, intervention and rehabilitation of youth living with mental or physical addiction or disability.
We believe that the Award program can be better utilized in Yellowknife to serve a more vulnerable demographic, and we KNOW there is a need. Our idea is to have the Award framework be used as a tool for supporting youth with financial barriers. We believe that we could change the lives of hundreds of young people in Yellowknife annually, empowering them to discover and live their best lives, becoming strong leaders in their own communities. Funding support will allow us to waive registration fees and funding the cost of activities needed in order participants to achieve an Award and be publicly recognized and celebrated.
Who Will it Benefit?
The initiative will directly benefit youth in Yellowknife aged 14 to 24 years of age. Indirectly, the initiative will benefit the families of these young people and the communities in which they live. By investing in the lives of these young people, and equipping them with leadership and needed life skills, the city of Yellowknife and the country as a whole will also benefit from this initiative.
This can be achieved because all participants participating in the Duke of Ed. Award will be required to fulfill a certain number of hours in community service, skill development, physical recreation, and outdoor exploration (either 13 hours, 26 hours, or 52 hours, depending on what level of the Award they are working on). By participating in these activities, participant’s friends, families, and communities will be directly and indirectly impacted.
This also provides an opportunity for our team to support the community at large, acting as a hub for connecting young people to opportunities, programs, organizations, and networks of support that they would otherwise not be linked to. This builds capacity for the sector at large, adding value without reinventing the wheel or duplicating services.